THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON ALUMNI MAGAZINE
LAUREN DONALDSON, 1903-1998
Lauren Donaldson, '31, a pioneer in fish genetics whose work revolutionized the study of salmon and helped build the UW fisheries program into a world-class institution, died Nov. 22, 1998. He was 95 when he died of congestive heart failure.
He is remembered mostly for his hatchery-raised fish, particularly the five species of salmon and "Donaldson trout" that still swim in Puget Sound and beyond.
Born on the family farm in Tracy, Minn., on May 13, 1903, Donaldson became intrigued with fish genetics while working in a Montana fish hatchery. In 1930, at the height of the Great Depression, he, his wife, Lenora, and their 1-year-old son drove a Model A Ford to Seattle, where he took a teaching job at the UW School of Fisheries.
He served on the UW faculty for 43 years and focused on improving strains of trout and salmon through selective breeding and nutrition. In 1949, he released 23,000 Chinook fingerling from land on the UW campus into Portage Bay. Four years later, 23 adult Chinook returned to a makeshift fish ladder and what would become "The Pond," the University's fish-rearing facility. He later studied the effects of radiation on aquatic organisms at post-war atomic bomb test sites in the South Pacific.
He was named the 1987 Alumnus Summa Laude Dignatus, the highest honor bestowed by the UW and its alumni association, and was an avid Husky football fan, attending games continuously from the 1930s to 1997.
He is survived by his son, Jack, of Portland, Ore.; his daughter, Joann Guldager of Eugene, Ore.; eight grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren.
Remembrances may be made to the University of Washington Foundation, designating the Donaldson Endowment Fund, and sent to the UW School of Fisheries, Box 357980, Seattle, WA 98195.-Jon Marmor
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